With Anti-Bullying Week starting today, the National Autistic Society (NAS) has shared its top tips to help parents of children with autism who are concerned about bullying.
Research by the NAS suggests that over 40% of children with autism and almost 60% of children with Asperger syndrome have been bullied at school.
As part of its advice for parents, the NAS say that it’s crucial for children to know that they can open up. Asking your child to draw a picture to show what happens at school is considered a great way to communicate.
With autistic children often finding it difficult to make friends, you’re advised to check if your child’s school has a buddy scheme where children with autism can learn how to make friends and have a playmate.
Help your child make a plan for break times as a lack of structured activity can leave them feeling anxious. You can ask teachers what structured activities your child could do during break times and whether they have a quiet place such a classroom where your child can go to feel safe.
“We routinely hear from concerned parents who are unsure how to help their child cope with bullying and how they can approach their child’s school, said Caroline Hattersley, Head of Information, Advice and Advocacy for the NAS.
“Bullying can have a devastating impact on the life of a young person with autism and NAS research has found that playground bullying can lead to mental health problems and setbacks in a child’s education and can potentially damage their outcomes later in life.”
According to the charity, two-thirds of parents with autistic children who have been bullied have said that it’s led to their kids having mental health difficulties.
Nearly one child in every 100 may have a n autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), which is a wide term for those with either Autism or Asperger Syndrome, according to the NHS.
If you’re worried about bullying and would like to know more info and advice, contact the NAS.